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5 things to know today: Requiring masks, Safety measures, Company fined, Intentionally set, Bribery scheme

A rundown of some of the best stories found on Inforum.

Signage promotes safety and social distancing practices as the West Acres Mall reopened on Friday, May 8, 2020. David Samson / The Forum

1. These Fargo businesses will continue to require masks despite mandate's end

Although the city of Fargo opted to eliminate its mask mandate Monday, March 22 , little will change for shoppers at some of the city’s largest retailers.

The Fargo City Commission voted 3-2 to allow the mandate, which had been in place since October, to lapse. Commissioners Tony Gehrig and Dave Piepkorn voted to eliminate the mandate, while both Commissioners John Strand and Arlette Preston favored continuing the mandate. Mayor Tim Mahoney broke the tie with his vote to eliminate the mandate.

Despite the move, businesses citywide plan to continue requiring their customers and employees to wear masks.

Read more from The Forum's Thomas Evanella

2. Downtown Fargo bars to keep liquor licenses, agree to increase safety measures


The Bismarck Tavern in downtown Fargo on Friday, April 13, 2018. David Samson / The Forum
The Bismarck Tavern in downtown Fargo is seen April 13, 2018. Forum file photo

After sit-down meetings with owners of what at least one city commissioner believes are troublesome bars in Fargo, Police Chief David Zibolski indicated to the liquor control board on Wednesday, March 24, that he was satisfied with steps being taken and didn't recommend any penalties.

In earlier statements, City Commissioner Tony Gehrig, who is also on the liquor board, suggested suspensions or even revocations of liquor licenses were in order for the Empire and Bismarck taverns downtown in light of a shooting that injured three people behind the Bismarck and the number of police calls to the two bars.

However, the five-member board took no action after listening to Zibolski, who said the meetings with the bar owners were "very productive."

Read more from The Forum's Barry Amundson

3. Fargo company fined, cited for grain bin accident that seriously injured employee

Grain bin rescue
A man was rescued from the grain bin and rushed to the hospital Thursday, Aug. 20. Derek Murray/WDAY News

A North Dakota seed company has agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor over an incident that seriously injured one of its employees last summer.


Red River Commodities Inc. signed the agreement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration relating to the injury to Aaron Maves, now 32, of Fargo.

Maves suffered partial amputation of his right leg after it was caught in a running grain bin auger on Aug. 20, 2020.

Read more from The Forum's Robin Huebner

4. Downtown Fargo blaze that damaged former steel plant was intentional, fire officials say

mid america steel fire
Fire officials have determined that a blaze that damaged the former Mid America Steel complex in downtown Fargo on Monday, March 22, 2021, was intentionally set. David Olson/The Forum

A Monday evening fire that damaged the former Mid America Steel complex at 92 NP Avenue in downtown Fargo was intentionally set, fire officials said Wednesday, March 24.

The Fargo Fire Department is working with the Fargo Police Department to determine the person or persons responsible, Fargo Fire Marshal Ryan Johnson said in a brief written statement.

Fire officials said the blaze appeared to primarily involve office space in the complex that until late 2019 housed Mid America Steel.


Read more from The Forum's Dave Olson

5. Fargo company accused in bribery scheme to land US military contracts worth $8.3 million

Entrance to Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, AK, where Best Choice Construction LLC was awarded a construction contract.

The owners of a Fargo-based construction company are now in jail following a federal investigation for using bribes to win government contracts worth millions.

Best Choice Construction Company LLC is accused of bribing a senior Air Force airman between February and August 2019.

An 18-page federal court document says Best Choice Construction LLC agreed to pay $460,000 in bribes for contracts worth $8.3 million.

The owners, 42-year-old Ryan Dalbec, and his wife, 27-year-old Raihana Dalbec, were arrested yesterday in the state of Virginia.

Watch the story from WDAY's Grace O'Neil

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